COMMENT: Many might have missed out on this.
The Penang government was told to put off all reclamation works (that it plans or underway) until a new environment survey method is put in place.
Federal Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said a high powered group from the ministry and experts in water studies would sit down to come up with the new and improved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DEIA) requirements.
Once the new requirements were formulated, they would be sent to the Cabinet, National Land Council (MTN), and National Physical Development Council (MPFN).
The MTN is chaired by a federal minister and the MPFN by the prime minister.
Once approved by them, the new EIA and DEIA requirements will take effect over the whole country, he added.
He reminded that all new projects especially in Penang should not be carried out at this time until the new system is implemented.
While we can understand the Penang situation because the State is run by DAP, does this also mean The Tanjung Aru Eco-Development(TAED) project will have to be put on hold until the new requirements are put in place?
TAED is scheduled to start work in April this year, and according to the plan there will be much reclamation work which has upset members of the public who want the God-given shoreline to be kept in its natural state and not replaced by an artificial one as the environmental impact is largely not understood.
Could it also mean with the new requirements yet to be made known, it is back to the drawing board for the promoters of TAED?
The Mayor Yeo Boon Hai said the (TAED) project would be reviewed based on public feedback until February. City Hall would then decide and identify the areas of concern involved.
It would not hurt to re look at the reclamation work and its impact thoroughly.
Better still to wait for the new requirements.
ELEPHANTS (AND WE ORDINARY HUMANS TOO) DO HAVE LONG MEMORIES
It wasn’t pleasant news to wake up to. Not on the first day of the new year.
Those greedy poachers must be brought to justice fast.
Within a short space of a month, two endangered Borneo Pygmy Elephants were ruthlessly butchered for their tusks. One sported a pair of unique sabre-like tusks.
It was a huge loss for the State, both were bulls, the one nicknamed ‘Sabre’ was about 20-25 years old, or something like that and prime for mating. The other was a 40 year old bull.
There are only about 1,500 to 2,000 of these elephants left, mainly found in Sabah.
It was only in 2003 after DNA testing that these elephants were discovered to be of distinct sub species. Smaller than their African cousins, they stand at about 8 feet fully grown and their life expectancy ranges from 60-75 years.
These elephants seem to be running into enough trouble already.
In 2013, as many as 14 of them were poisoned believed to be by plantation workers. Not much was heard of this since. It is hard to forget the picture of a 3-month survivor calf pitifully trying to wake up the mother after she had dropped down dead.
As usual, after the initial angry reactions and promises of action by the powers that be, the matter seems to have been swept under the carpet or the culprits had powerful friends to make things disappear.
Last year, seven of them died from starvation and dehydration after being stuck in a pool of mud for one week. Two were rescued
Now, we have this latest incident. This time the motive is pure and simple – greed.
We need to do what it takes before we lose them all. Africa has lost about 140,000 of her savannah elephants for their ivory between 2007 to 2014, wiping almost a third of their population.
Elephants are still being killed every 15 minutes on average.
This is of course due to supply and demand. China has the biggest domestic ivory market in the world and has just announced it would close the market by end of this year.
While this was what the environmentalists and the conservationists had wanted to hear, it has also accelerated poaching in soft targets like Sabah, in anticipation of price hike due to the scarcity of ivory in and after the next months.
The poachers can only see money to be made from the situation. Are we going to let them off the hook easily.
It is anybody’s guess whether the Chinese ivory market would shut down completely or resurfaces somewhere else under a different guise which would put all our elephants at risk.
Sabah has been in the forefront in conservation issues, the government has been accommodating and has resolved issues from Heart of Borneo to the rejection of the coal powered plant in Lahad Datu.
It is hoped this latest incident can be further avoided and not going to be a regular feature as as it attracts negative and unnecessary publicity internationally which hurts our tourism industry.
As more jungle areas and lands are being broken up for plantations, logging activities and even settlements without corridors linking them to allow animals to pass through so human elephant conflicts are bound to happen more often as we close down their habitat. They still go back to look for resources that used to be there. Elephants do have a long memory.
There are also talks of the possibilities of gold mining in the Tawau area. If true, this will further upset the eco system and our wildlife will be further endangered.
We need to do more to protect our wildlife, they have as much right to share this planet with us.
We cannot afford more wildlife tragedies, and it goes without saying more enforcement is needed.
Human neglect, greed and callousness should not be in our vocabulary when it comes to passing this planet to the next generation and to those yet to come.
After this article was written, someone sent me this.
FOOTNOTE: Sign up and join us in a free public workshop on 14th January 2017 in Suria Sabah specially in helping ordinary citizens and experts in understanding public consultation in town planning and urban design.
In conjunction with the Tanjung Aru Eco Development Public Consultation (ends on 10th February 2017), we welcome all supporters and objectors, and also those who are ‘sitting on the fence’ to ask and learn the facts before they write in to support OR object TAED.
This workshop is a platform where young enthusiastic Architects, Town Planners, Lawyers, and Urban Designers are there to help you to vision the future based on sound planning principles.
Fulfil your duty as a citizen who care about their city. We will do our best for your comments to be heard for DBKK’s next action.
- Fly on the Wall is a weekly Sunday column. Our intrepid guest columnist would like BorneoToday readers to comment on his arguments, whether your agree or not, with him. You can address them to [email protected]. We will publish your comments unless you say no.